Beating the Heat
and Heat Stroke: Big Difference
The symptoms of heat stroke -- dizziness,
nausea, fatigue -- as well as the very name itself could
lead you to believe the most extreme form of heat illness
is a form of stroke.
However, that's not the case at all. Although
both a neurological stroke and heat stroke can, if untreated,
cause permanent damage and even be fatal, the two are unrelated.
Heat stroke is the most serious stage of
heat illness, and occurs when excessive exposure to heat
causes the body's sweating mechanism to fail. Without that
mechanism, the body can no longer cool down, and body temperature
can soar to 106 degrees or higher.
With heat stroke, a person will show no
signs of sweating, have a rapid pulse, and red, hot, dry
skin. Dizziness, nausea and a severe headache may be experienced.
Medical assistance should be sought immediately and the
person should be cooled down with such items as wet towels
heat and high humidity can pose health problems, especially
among older people and young children. There are some helpful
- Stay out of direct sunlight.
- Keep outdoor activities to a minimum, especially between
10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made from fabric
that absorbs perspiration.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Take lukewarm baths.
- Recognise early signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
They include headache, feelings of weakness and dizziness
-- usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
for Heat Cramps
Have you ever had a muscle in your arm or
leg go into spasm in the middle of an exercise routine or
during another kind of strenuous activity?
That means you've experienced heat cramps,
which are painful and involuntary spasms caused by low salt
levels in your muscles.
So if you perspire heavily, you're probably
more prone to the problem because sweating drains your body's
salt and moisture. That's why sodium-laden sports drinks
are so popular with athletes -- they replenish the body's
Actually, even if you aren't a big sweater,
a lack of fluid can cause your muscles to seize up. In this
case, heat cramps may be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
The spasms usually affect muscles in your
calves, arms, abdomen and back, although they can occur
when you're exerting any muscle group.
- Quit exercising, and rest quietly in a cool place.
- Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
- Don't resume any strenuous activity for a few hours after
the heat cramps subside. Further exertion may lead to heat
exhaustion or heat stroke.
- If the cramps don't pass after an hour, get medical help.
For people with heart problems or on low-sodium
diets, you should seek medical attention for heat cramps.